Music doesn't get much breezier than The Doobie Brothers on the Midnight Special

The Doobie Brothers on The Midnight Special in 1973
(Image credit: The Midnight Special)

The recently launched YouTube channel of US TV show The Midnight Special has added another video to its ever-growing online archive, and this one is a soft rock classic: a 1973 performance of Listen To The Music by The Doobie Brothers.

The footage comes from the eighth show of the first series of the long-running show, broadcast on March 16 and hosted by crooner Paul Anka. In addition to the Doobie Brothers, the show was enlivened by a mixture of live performances and recorded clips from Bobby Darin, The Coasters, the Ace Trucking Company, the Edwin Hawkins Singers, and country stars Tammy Wynette and George Jones.  

Listen To The Music had been a hit for the Doobie Brothers the previous year, and was based on a Utopian view of the world conjured up by singer Tom Johnston.  

"The idea was that music would lift man up to a higher plane," he told Songfacts, "and that world leaders, if they were able to sit down on some big grassy knoll where the sun was shining and hear music – such as the type I was playing – would figure out that everybody had more in common than they had not in common, and it was certainly not worth getting in such a bad state of affairs about. 

"Everybody in the world would therefore benefit from this point of view. Just basically that music would make everything better. And of course I've since kind of realised it doesn't work that way." 

The world may not have worked that way, but 445 million Spotify plays later, Listen To The Music – along with other hits like Long Train Runnin' and What A Fool Believes – has put the Doobie Brothers in the perhaps enviable position of being a band whose songs are more famous than they are.

"We’re kinda glad about it," singer Pat Simmons told Classic Rock. "Although we’re entertainers, we value our anonymity. When I meet people on flights and they ask whether I’m in a band, I tell them the songs we’re known for. They recognise them, but not me. I like that."

The Doobie Brothers are currently on tour in North America - full dates below. 

The Doobie Brothers: 50th Anniversary Tour 2023

May 25: Hollywood Hard Rock Live at Seminole, FL
May 26: Saint Petersburg Duke Energy Center for the Arts, FL
Jun 09: Sparks Nugget Event Center, NV
Jun 11: West Valley Maverik Center, UT
Jun 14: Kansas City Starlight Theatre, MO
Jun 15: Springfield Great Southern Bank Arena, MO
Jun 17: Sioux City Tyson Events Center, IA
Jun 18: Des Moines Wells Fargo Arena, IA
Jun 20: Duluth AMSOIL Arena, MN
Jun 21: Madison Breese Stevens Field, WI
Jun 23: Fort Wayne Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, IN
Jun 24: Peoria Peoria Civic Center, IL
Jun 26: Huber Heights Rose Music Center at The Heights, OH
Jun 28: Youngstown The Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre, OH
Jun 30: Pikeville Appalachian Wireless Arena, KY
Jul 01: Louisville The Palace Theatre, KY
Jul 03: Portsmouth Atlantic Union Bank Pavilion, VA
Jul 06: Reading Santander Performing Arts Center, PA
Jul 08: New Brunswick State Theatre New Jersey, NJ
Jul 09: New Brunswick State Theatre New Jersey, NJ
Jul 11: Morristown Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), NJ
Jul 12: Morristown Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), NJ
Aug 18: Waite Park The Ledge Amphitheater, MN
Aug 20: Lincoln Pinewood Bowl Theater, NE
Aug 23: Camdenton Ozarks Amphitheatre, MO
Aug 26: Brandon Brandon Amphitheater, MS
Aug 28: Biloxi Mississippi Coast Coliseum, MS
Aug 30: Huntsville The Orion Amphitheater, AL
Aug 31: Franklin FirstBank Amphitheater, TN
Sep 02: Macon Macon Centreplex, GA
Sep 03: Savannah Enmarket Arena, GA
Sep 06: Simpsonville CCNB Amphitheatre at Heritage Park, SC
Sep 07: Greensboro White Oak Amphitheatre, NC
Sep 09: Charleston Credit One Stadium, SC
Oct 05: Washington MGM National Harbor, DC
Oct 06: Uncasville Mohegan Sun Arena, CT
Oct 08: Atlantic City Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, NJ
Oct 13: Halifax Scotiabank Centre, NS
Oct 14: Moncton Avenir Centre, NB
Oct 16: Ottawa Canadian Tire Centre, ON
Oct 17: Ottawa Tribute Communities Centre, ON
Oct 19: St. Catharines Meridian Centre, ON
Oct 23: Winnipeg Canada Life Centre, MB
Oct 24: Edmonton Rogers Place, AB
Oct 25: Calgary Scotiabank Saddledome, AB
Oct 27: Kelowna Prospera Place, BC
Oct 28: Abbotsford Abbotsford Centre, BC 

Tickets are on sale now.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.